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Genetics. Nov 1997; 147(3): 1339–1350.
PMCID: PMC1208256

New Insights into the Role of the Maize Ameiotic1 Locus

Abstract

In maize the am1-1 mutant allele results in both the male and female meiocytes undergoing mitosis in place of the meiotic divisions. A second mutant allele am1-praI enables both the male and female meiocytes to proceed to the early zygotene stage of meiotic prophase I before being blocked. Here we report on three new alleles that allow all male meiocytes to undergo mitosis but in female meiocytes approximately one quarter (am1-2), one half (am1-485), or all (am1-489) of them are blocked at an abnormal interphase stage. Previous analysis has shown that am1-praI is dominant to am1-1 in male meiocytes. Cytological analysis of heteroallelic combinations in female meiocytes now indicates a dominance relationship of am1-praI > am1-1 > am1-2/am1-485 > am1-489. The evidence provided by the female phenotypes of the new mutant alleles suggest that, whereas the normal am1 allele is required for the meiocytes to proceed through meiosis, a partially functional allele may be required for their diversion into a mitotic division. The partial or complete blockage of mitosis in female meiocytes carrying the new am1 alleles rules out the possibility that the mitotic division of mutant meiocytes reflects a simple default pathway for cells that cannot initiate meiosis. This locus may have a dual function.

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Selected References

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